New York City, Boston... Hartford? If you’ve already checked America’s most venerable marathons off your list, you should turn your steps toward the capital city of Connecticut, which is located halfway between the cities that host the two granddaddies of marathons. In Hartford you’ll not only find the former residence of author Mark Twain, creator of such beloved characters as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but a particularly green marathon as well. As early as 2007 the marathon organizers introduced the “bubbler,” a twelve-meter-long water pipe with multiple spouts, to allow the athletes to drink without cups. Organizers say that to date, this innovation has eliminated the need for some 85,000 plastic cups. Energy is provided by the Solar Trailer, a bus equipped with photovoltaic panels. And since 2013, the Hartford Marathon has been partnering with the Eco Husky Club, a student organization dedicated to environmental protection. The club makes sure that the waste generated during the marathon is composted – and educates runners, spectators, and helpers about how to compost at home.
This event is one of the largest non-urban races in Germany, taking runners along the legendary Röntgenweg, a hiking trail in the Bergisches Land mountain range. The route winds along lakes and through valleys and forests – and the organizers are committed to showing their love of nature through their particularly sustainable concept. Food is provided by local companies so it doesn’t have to be transported over long distances. And the water for the runners isn’t transported at all – the water for the drinking stations flows from local taps. The marathon doesn’t have pace cars either: bicycles are used instead. Single-use plastic items such as plastic cups and plates have been completely banned from the event. On the day of the race, participants can use public transportation as well as the event’s shuttle buses for free. And to get to Remscheid, the organizers have breathed new life into an old idea – ride sharing. The event’s website features a page where participants can sign up to share rides to and from the race. The green streak also extends to the snacks offered along the route – no packaged food is provided. You won’t even find a plastic wrapper on the obligatory granola bars, which are produced in bulk for the event by a local baker.